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Kim Whan-ki's 'Untitled' breaks record for Korean art price in Hong Kong auction

All News 10:23 April 05, 2016

By Woo Jae-yeon

SEOUL, April 5 (Yonhap) - A painting by South Korea's great abstract artist Kim Whan-ki sold for a record price on Monday in an auction held in Hong Kong.

The painting "Untitled" from the 1970s fetched 4.86 billion won (US$4.2 million) at the event organized by Seoul Auction, South Korea's biggest arts auction firm, in the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel in Hong Kong.

The highest price ever paid for Korean art broke the previous record set by the same artist for his "19-Ⅶ-71 #209" painting from 1971, which was gaveled at 4.7 billion in the same event last October.

The highlight of the live auction came when Kim's "Untitled" was auctioned off with the initial price of 2.9 billion won. After fierce bidding even through telephone from European bidders, a collector from Hong Kong successfully got the black-dotted abstract painting.

A native of the small fishing town of Shinan, southwestern Korea, Kim played a significant role as one of the country's first abstract artists. In early 1960, he moved to New York in the U.S. and stayed there until his death in 1974.

An official from the auction said, "Until the 1950s, his art focused mainly on traditional Korean sentiments, but after he moved to New York, he seriously developed his own unique style of abstract art using lines and dots."

The event grossed 14 billion won in total in art sales, selling 45 art pieces out of 59 items up for grabs.


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